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Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


Third Last Sunday/
Festival Of All Saints
Series C

Option #1: "The Last Wedding in History"
Revelation 21:9-11, 22-27; 22:1-5
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

SOMETHING OLD: the seven last plagues, v9, are retribution for sin; see also Eph 4:22: "Put off your old self"

SOMETHING NEW: Rev 21:10-11; 22-25; 22:17--the gift of eternal life in the new heaven and the new earth--cf 21:1, complete healing: vv22:2bff, 21:4--NO MORE DEATH!

SOMETHING BORROWED: v27: Christ’s righteousness, as in Rom 1:17; borrowed also in the sense of our gifts to God-- see 21:24-26--which are "repaid" abundantly in eternal life; see Lk 16:9

SOMETHING BLUE: as in "true blue," cf v5 and 22:6

Charles H. Spurgeon: "The city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it." (Revelation 21:23) Yonder in the better world, the inhabitants have no need of creature comforts. They have no need of clothing; their white robes never wear out, neither shall they ever be defiled. They need no medicine to heal diseases. They need no sleep--they rest not day nor night, but unweariedly praise him in his temple. They need no teachers there; they commune with one another concerning the things of God, but they do not require this by way of instruction; they shall all be taught of the Lord. Here we lean upon the friendly arm, but there they lean upon their Beloved and upon Him alone. Here we must have the help of our companions, but there they find all they want in Christ Jesus. We use the bucket to fetch us water from the well, but there they drink from the fountain head, and put their lips down to the living water. Here the angels bring us blessings, but we shall need no messengers from heaven then. They shall need no Gabriels there to bring their love-notes from God, for there they shall see him face to face. Oh! what a blessed time shall that be when we shall rest upon the bare arm of God! What a glorious hour when God, and not his creatures, the Lord, and not his works, shall be our daily joy! Our souls shall then have attained the perfection of bliss.

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THE MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN

VISUAL AIDS: 1) a recipe book 2) a wedding picture

I need you to help me a little this morning. I need you to remember the last time you were at a wedding. Let’s imagine that before you can eat some wedding cake, another recipe has to be followed for the wedding. A cake has ingredients. You’ve watched your mom or dad put these things in a bowl and mix them all together and then bake the cake. You need flour, you need eggs... (supply a few other ingredients to make the point).

Now tell me: What do we need to have a wedding? ONE MAN & ONE WOMAN, LOTS OF LOVE, SOME BIG PROMISES, A LOT OF TALKING WITH EACH OTHER. Did I leave anything out? The Bible tells us that Jesus sees himself as the Groom and the Church--that’s us and everyone else who believes in Him--as the Bride.

Now let’s see how the same ingredients we listed for a wedding are found in this marriage that Jesus has with us as His Church: He is the Groom, the Church is the Bride. Just like a marriage between a man and a woman, there is LOTS OF LOVE between Jesus and the Church. He loved us so much that he came here to die for our sins on the cross; he went through hell for us so that you and I would not have to go there. Now that’s a lot of love!

You need SOME BIG PROMISES. Jesus made lots of them to us, His Bride. He said, WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. He said, I AM COMING BACK TO TAKE YOU TO BE WITH ME WHERE I AM. The Bride--that’s us--makes some promises, too: I WILL NEVER STOP LOVING YOU; I WILL ALWAYS BELONG TO YOU; I WILL NEVER GIVE MY LOVE TO ANOTHER.

A marriage also needs A LOT OF TALKING TO EACH OTHER. Jesus, the Groom, talks to us in His Word, in the Bible. We listen to His Word here in Church and we read it on our own, and we even memorize some of it.We talk to him when we pray to him.

So there you have it: To be the Bride of Jesus, there has to be: LOTS OF LOVE, SOME BIG PROMISES, A LOT OF TALKING, A LOT OF LISTENING, AND A LOT OF PRAYING so that we may show our love to Jesus the Groom for as long as we live. The day is coming when the wedding party will begin, and that will be the happiest and best party you will ever know and, too, it will last forever and ever!

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Option #2: "God's Description of--Not Prescription for--Sainthood"
Matthew 5:1-12
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: The Beatitudes are blessings, not commands or exhortations to "Be good!" or "Try harder!"
 
The Problem:  We are sometimes tempted to turn Jesus' description of an upside-down--er, rightside-up?--world into a prescription for "how-to" Christianity
 
The Promise: Jesus' death on our behalf has secured our reward of heaven; the Spirit's presence in our lives makes our reward/sainthood evident.
 
1. Look at those verbs: "Blessed are... they shall be." The verbs are present and future indicatives all the way up until the exhortations, "Rejoice and be glad" (Matt 6:12). The words from Jesus are radical precisely because they are not commands, not exhortations, not encouragements to "become blessed." They are, instead, a statement of the world turned upside down, where those who mourn are comforted rather than abandoned or merely pitied, where those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are satisfied, not ignored or shouted down, where the meek inherit the earth rather than being ground into the dust. (Mary Hinkle)
 
2.The beatitudes are not a new set of commandments added to those proclaimed on Sinai. Instead of being normative, they are descriptive, a portrait of the life that is possible for those who believe in the love and compassion of God. (Andrew Greeley)
 
3.When the church becomes an end to itself, it acts pious and begins to turn sour. Anyone with a sensitive nose will smell that and find it dreadful. (Karl Barth)
 
4. A saint is anyone through whom God's light shines.
 
5.The beatitudes are not new obligations, a new set of commandments. They are, rather, descriptions of how those who fully understand God's love can be recognized. They do not cause sanctity; rather, they are indicators of it. (Andrew Greeley)
 
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM